The initial issue that I developed a strategy to deal with was the anxiety related to the VOCID-19 virus uncertainty. With the constant news about death and dangers that the virus is able to bring to the lives of people and the ways it can harm my loved ones or me, I became concerned, which did not help me in any way but caused unwanted emotional distress. Hence, as a critical thinker, I had to develop a strategy that would make my anxiety manageable and minimize the adverse effect of uncontrollable worry. This part of the strategy addresses how the stage 3 transition approach in cognitive development is applicable to my strategy (Levaot et al., 2020). In addition, the cogency of my primary strategy would be evaluated in both deductive and inductive forms. Factors such as clarity, credibility, relevance, completeness, and soundness of the argument would be included in the evaluation. Finally, the casual reasoning in my strategy would be determined in order to identify possible questionable assumptions or superstitions involved.
Stage Three Application
As a critical thinker, it is important to make a sound decision that is based on objective statements and facts and free of personal bias. Therefore, the stage three transition approach is applicable in the case of my strategy. Stage three states that I should not just blindly follow authority. I need to orient myself in an uncertain world and make a decision or commitment (Boss, 2021). The uncertain environment imposed on the world by the COVID-19 pandemic is especially complicated due to the wide variety of information. Therefore, people, myself included, tend to get lost in all of the news and changes, which are constantly broadcasted and translated through media, which is integrated into our daily lives. In my case, the constant accessibility of the newsfeed acted as a source of constant anxiety. Therefore, I should apply critical thinking evaluation methods to such news, so my mental health stays safe.
Premise and Conclusion of the Strategy
In order to reduce my panic related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its possible threat to my friends and family, I decided to adhere to the following strategies. First of all, most of the anxiety was triggered by the constant news about the victims of the virus, which I saw on the news and on social media. Therefore, I started to filter my information inflow and explored only credible sources. To avoid potential biases, I would apply my empathy and rationalism skills. Emotional intelligence is also an essential part of the strategy as it allows me to control negative emotions and avoid fear and sadness (Chatfield, 2017). More specific insights about the strategy include eliminating fallacies, which can be done through the search for additional data, and reaching out to my friends and family to ensure that I am aware of their level of sensitivity towards the virus and the vaccine’s side effects. Finally, analyzing information that I received about the virus in terms of objective calculations and the number of people involved in it had a positive impact on reducing my anxiety through critical thinking methods.
Panic and anxiety usually manifest themselves in the form of emotional reactions to certain fears. Identifying that fear by asking myself a question, “What is it that makes me feel scared?” was an important step towards understanding the argument, which can be evaluated through critical thinking methods. The answer to this question is always certain – I am afraid that my loved ones or I would be affected by COVID-19, and it can have an adverse long-term effect on their health or, in the worst case, can be lethal. The premise of the argument is the news about increasing numbers of infected people, and the conclusion is that my family or friends are going to be affected by the virus too. Hence, I am evaluating this argument on its clarity, credibility, relevance, completeness, and soundness to prove that the argument is invalid.
The argument that my friends or family are going to suffer COVID-19 is ambiguous because there is a controllable probability of this happening. Hence, although there is a chance, nobody can certainly tell that this is going to happen. In terms of credibility, the argument is based on generalized evidence that is made for the entire state or city (Petzold et al., 2020). The evidence presented does not include the variety of factors that affected each case of the infection. The relevancy of the argument is based on the premise that a lot of people are being infected with COVID-19, but it does not lead to the conclusion that my loved ones are also going to be infected.
In terms of completeness, a lot of premises are overlooked in the argument as factors such as wearing masks, social distancing, vaccination, maintaining hygiene, and quarantining are not mentioned in the news about the number of people with COVID-19. As all of the above mentioned factors are recommendations that are followed strictly by my family and friends, the conclusion that they are at high risk of the infection does not have enough ground. Hence, the argument is not sound as its premises do not support the conclusions entirely.
The deductive argument claims that its conclusion directly follows from its premises. In my case, the deductive argument that induces my panic would be, “My family and friends are going to be infected by COVID-19 because of the raising number of COVID-19 victims”. Here, the conclusion lacks a direct connection to the premises, and as described in the previous chapter, the premises lack sufficient ground (Stephens et al., 2020). Therefore, the deductive argument is not convincing after it is deconstructed and evaluated.
An inductive argument, on the contrary, is based on the probability of a conclusion following the premise. Hence, the argument would sound like, “My family and friends might be infected by COVID-19 because of the raising number of COVID-19 victims”. In this case, the argument acknowledges the risk of getting sick, but it leaves an opportunity for evaluation of this probability (Boss, 2021). Hence, the other factor, such as preventive measures, should be taken into consideration to evaluate the probability of the event happening. Hence, the inductive argument sounds more convincing while empowering an actor to develop a working strategy.
In conclusion, the identification of the argument is a powerful tool for developing cognitive thinking. Further deconstruction and evaluation of the argument on the matter of clarity, credibility, relevance, completeness, and soundness allow for objective decision-making and make my coping strategy more effective. After applying critical thinking methods to my issue of anxiety and panic related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue became more manageable. This proves that the techniques learned during the course are applicable to real-life situations.
Boss, J. A. (2021). THiNK: Critical thinking and logic skills for everyday life (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Chatfield, T. (2017). Critical thinking: Your guide to effective argument, successful analysis and independent study. New York: SAGE.
Levaot, Y., Greene, T., & Palgi, Y. (2020). The associations between media use, peritraumatic distress, anxiety and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 1, 1–5. Web.
Petzold, M. B., Bendau, A., Plag, J., Pyrkosch, L., MascarellMaricic, L., Betzler, F., Rogoll, J., Große, J., &Ströhle, A. (2020). Risk, resilience, psychological distress, and anxiety at the beginning of the COVID‐19 pandemic in Germany. Brain and Behavior, 10(9). Web.
Stephens, R. G., Dunn, J. C., Hayes, B. K., & Kalish, M. L. (2020). A test of two processes: The effect of training on deductive and inductive reasoning. Cognition, 199, 104223.